There seems to be a constant debate between the significance of visual vs. copy in advertising. Developments in technology have enabled any image to be within the creative director’s reach, but at the same time I think that copy is fundamental in giving the campaign character, aiding the shopper decision-process from aisles upon aisles of products.
In this campaign to promote a local homeless shelter in the 1990s, Crispin Porter + Bogusky Miami put ads on unconventional media to emphasise the unlikely places that the homeless called ‘home’ and shopping carts, rubbish bins and park benches were each neatly covered in minimalist copy. With a small budget, Bogusky’s aim was to find “ways to cheat a little and still get noticed”. The campaign therefore reflects this in its simplicity and signpost-like quality, but I particularly like it for the copy’s use of metaphor, which has the effect of startling its audience from their daily home-work-play routines by re-evaluating the familiar. Thus, while each had the copy “When you’re homeless, you see the world differently. To help call…”, the main headlines related to the object in question, successfully reiterating the message of the campaign. As this article from ‘I have an idea’ describes rather nicely, the metaphor works by-
“Equating your subject with something apparently unrelated helps guide your audience to a deeper and more specific understanding of that subject. People will grasp the wretchedness of a toupee much more quickly if you call it a rug than they will if you just describe it as unattractive.”
And it clearly works.